Many people pop over the counter painkillers like they are candy, taking them every 6 to 12 hours as the bottle states. Rather than treating their pain on the front-end, they’ve come to rely on these easily available and extremely cheap medicines to take of the pain on the back-end. But researchers are always finding reasons why these pills should be pitched—and they’ve recently added another to the list.
According to the study, published in the journal Circulation, people who have suffered a previous heart attack should use medications including ibuprofen and naproxen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs) very cautiously and “only in consultation with your doctor.” This is because the OTC medications can dramatically increase the risk of a subsequent heart attack and increase the chance of death.
In the first year after the heart attack, 20 percent of NSAID users died, versus about 12 percent of non-users. -MSNBC
And the elevated risks don’t go away over time. Although the death rate declined for those who took the OTC drugs and those who didn’t, the NSAID user’s rate was still about double that of non-users after four years.
This isn’t the first time safety of NSAIDs in heart patients has been called into question. COX-2 inhibitors, a type of NSAIDs, have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular problems. Two of these drugs, rofecoxib (Vioxx) and valdecoxib were taken off the market several years ago while Celebrex is still being prescribed for arthritis.
Don’t Choose Over the Counter Painkillers – Here are Some Alternative Solutions
Heart patients are encouraged to use acetaminophen (Tylenol) rather than NSAIDs for OTC pain relief. Interestingly, they are seldom encouraged by their traditional MD’s to explore known natural anti-inflammatory options like turmeric. Not only does turmeric act as a natural anti-inflammatory, it’s this inflammation-fighting property that could be responsible for its heart healthy benefits.
A recent study, reported here, showed heart-bypass patients taking a curcumin (turmeric) supplement had a far lesser risk of heart attack than a placebo group.
If you have a headache, which is one of the most common triggers for ingesting over the counter painkillers, try one of these natural home remedies for headaches instead.
Should heart patients stay away from NSAIDs? I think the research is clear—yes! But, this doesn’t mean you should pop a Tylenol instead. Acetiminophen has its own list of negative side effects including liver damage and even death.